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826 F.

2d 145

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, Appellee,

Frank L. MARRAPESE, Defendant, Appellant.
No. 86-1045.

United States Court of Appeals,

First Circuit.
Heard March 5, 1987.
Decided Aug. 14, 1987.

Edward J. Romano, Providence, R.I., by appointment of the Court, for

defendant, appellant.
Maury S. Epner, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., with whom
Lincoln Almond, U.S. Atty., Providence, R.I., and John Voorhees, Sp.
Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., were on brief for plaintiff,
Before CAMPBELL, Chief Judge, and COFFIN and TORRUELLA,
Circuit Judges.
TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.
Frank L. Marrapese appeals from his conviction of obstruction of justice
under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1503 and from his sentencing as a dangerous special
offender under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3575.

Marrapese was originally indicted in May 1982 for his involvement in a stolen
goods conspiracy. While that case was proceeding, Marrapese contacted a
witness and tried to induce him to change his testimony. The witness contacted
the government and was outfitted with a body tape recorder to wear to a
meeting with Marrapese at Marrapese's lawyer's office. The tape recorded
Marrapese requesting the witness to tell "three lies." As soon as the tape was
played in the stolen goods trial, Marrapese changed his plea and was sentenced
to ten years' imprisonment.

The government subsequently charged Marrapese, his lawyer, and a third

person on May 12, 1983, with conspiring to suborn perjury. Marrapese's trial,
which was severed from the other two defendants, resulted in a deadlocked jury
and a mistrial in March 1984.

The court scheduled a retrial for December 3, 1984, but Marrapese challenged
the grand jury that had produced the conspiracy indictment. The government
then convened a second grand jury in February, 1985, which issued a
superseding indictment charging Marrapese with conspiracy to suborn perjury
and, for the first time, obstruction of justice. At the retrial Marrapese was
acquitted of the conspiracy count and convicted of obstruction of justice. The
district court sentenced him to fifteen years under the dangerous special
offender statute, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3575.

On appeal Marrapese alleges three errors. First, he argues the obstruction of

justice count should have been dismissed as a product of vindictive
prosecution. Second, he argues that a statement in the prosecutor's closing
argument was prejudicial error. And third, he argues that the application of the
dangerous special offender statute violated his right to due process and
constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

I. Vindictive Prosecution

There are two ways a defendant may show vindictive prosecution. First, a
defendant may produce evidence of actual vindictiveness sufficient to show a
due process violation. See United States v. Goodwin, 457 U.S. 368, 380 n. 12,
102 S.Ct. 2485, 2492 n. 12, 73 L.Ed.2d 74 (1982). Alternatively, a defendant
may convince a court that the circumstances show there is sufficient
"likelihood of vindictiveness" to warrant a presumption of vindictiveness. See
Goodwin, id. 457 U.S. at 376, 102 S.Ct. at 2490; Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S.
21, 27, 94 S.Ct. 2098, 2102, 40 L.Ed.2d 628 (1974). If so, the prosecutor bears
the burden of rebutting that presumption by showing objective reasons for the
additional charge that were not present when the original charge was brought.
Goodwin, 457 U.S. at 376 n. 8, 102 S.Ct. at 2490 n. 8.

A. Evidence of Actual Vindictiveness


Marrapese points to the following evidence of vindictiveness: (1) the

prosecutor made jocular, derogatory comments about Marrapese in a chambers
conference; (2) Marrapese and the prosecutor had an altercation when the
prosecutor asked him to cooperate in the case against his lawyer; (3) the

prosecutor questioned the wisdom of Marrapese's attack on the grand jury

process, commenting that he could always issue a superseding indictment, with
additional counts if necessary; and (4) the aggressive defense throughout the
companion conspiracy cases aggravated the prosecutor.

The first two events were well removed in time from the superseding
indictment and not strong evidence in any case. The third event, the
prosecutor's comments to defense counsel, appears at first glance to be more
troubling. But a careful analysis of the allegations and the context in which they
arose provides adequate support for the district court's conclusion that defense
counsel overreacted, reading a sinister motive into innocuous remarks. Finally,
although the defendants in these cases pursued their defense very aggressively,
Marrapese can point to no evidence, other than that just recited, that the
prosecutor behaved in anything other than a professional manner, or that he was
any more aggravated by the defense tactics than prosecutors are generally. A
criminal trial is not a tea party.

Additionally, the district court found the prosecutor's explanation of the reason
for the addition of the obstruction of justice count credible. In October 1982,
seven months before Marrapese was originally indicted in this case, Congress
enacted the Victim and Witness Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1512, which
prohibits, inter alia, the use of violence or coercion to influence the testimony of
a witness. The Act also amended 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1503 by eliminating its
reference to influencing, intimidating, or impeding witnesses. The prosecutor
understood the Act and the amendment to mean that Sec. 1503 no longer
prohibited noncoercive efforts to influence witnesses. The reasonableness of
this understanding was demonstrated in March, 1984, when the Second Circuit
stated, in dictum, that "Congress intended to remove witnesses entirely from the
scope of Sec. 1503." United States v. Hernandez, 730 F.2d 895, 898 (2d

Subsequent court decisions, however, questioned this reading of Sec. 1503.

These later decisions focused on the omnibus clause of Sec. 1503, which was
not changed by the October, 1982 amendments, and which prohibits all
"endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede[ ] the due administration of
justice." Non-coercive tampering with witnesses, these courts concluded, is
covered by this omnibus clause. See United States v. Lester, 749 F.2d 1288
(9th Cir.1984); United States v. Beatty, 587 F.Supp. 1325 (E.D.N.Y.1984); see
also United States v. Risken, 788 F.2d 1361 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----,
107 S.Ct. 329, 93 L.Ed.2d 302 (1986); United States v. Rovetuso, 768 F.2d 809
(7th Cir.1985), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 106 S.Ct. 1951, 90 L.Ed.2d 360
(1986); United States v. Wesley, 748 F.2d 962 (5th Cir.1984), cert. denied, 471

U.S. 1130, 105 S.Ct. 2664, 86 L.Ed.2d 281 (1985). The prosecutor in this case
learned of the Lester decision in December, 1984, and immediately
recommended to his supervisor that Marrapese be charged with obstruction of
justice for his noncoercive witness tampering. Based on this evidence, and on
the prosecutor's testimony that it was easier to issue a new indictment than to
defend the old one against Marrapese's challenge, the district court found that
there was no credible evidence linking the superseding indictment with any
vindictiveness by the prosecutor. That finding was not clearly erroneous.
B. Likelihood of Vindictiveness in the Circumstances

Marrapese points to two circumstances in this case that warrant a presumption

of vindictive prosecution. First, he was indicted for obstruction of justice only
after his trial on the conspiracy charge ended in a mistrial. And second, the
obstruction of justice indictment followed Marrapese's challenge to the grand
jury that issued the original conspiracy indictment. Marrapese argues that in
these circumstances the filing of the additional charge was likely intended to
punish him for vigorously asserting his procedural rights.


We do not find this assertion as compelling as Marrapese would like.

Marrapese's superseding indictment, filed after the mistrial and the challenge to
the grand jury, does not present the same "likelihood of vindictiveness" that the
Supreme Court found in the only cases which warranted the presumption
Marrapese seeks here. See United States v. Khan, 787 F.2d 28, 32-33 (2d
Cir.1986) (no presumption of vindictiveness when additional charges added
after a mistrial due to a hung jury).


In North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 U.S. 711, 89 S.Ct. 2072, 23 L.Ed.2d 656
(1969), the appellant received a longer sentence after a retrial than he had
received after his first, constitutionally flawed, trial. Due to the likelihood that
the higher sentence was an attempt to punish appellant for asserting his right to
appeal, the Court held that a judge could not impose an enhanced sentence on
retrial unless he specifically identified in the record his reasons for doing so.
Those reasons, moreover, must be "based upon objective information
concerning identifiable conduct on the part of the defendant occurring after the
time of the original sentencing proceeding." Id. 395 U.S. at 726, 89 S.Ct. at
2081. In effect, the Pearce Court applied a presumption of vindictiveness to the
judge's action, a presumption rebuttable only by objective information in the
record. Goodwin, 457 U.S. at 374, 102 S.Ct. at 2489.


The only other two cases in which the Court applied a presumption of
vindictiveness also involved retrials after a trial and conviction. Both

Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S. 21, 94 S.Ct. 2098, 40 L.Ed.2d 628, and Thigpen
v. Roberts, 468 U.S. 27, 104 S.Ct. 2916, 82 L.Ed.2d 23 (1984), were habeas
actions brought by defendants who, after they asserted their statutory right to
trial de novo following misdemeanor convictions, were charged with felonies
arising out of the same facts that led to the misdemeanors. As in Pearce, the
effective price of exercising their rights was the risk of greater punishment. The
Court explained:A prosecutor clearly has a considerable stake in discouraging
convicted misdemeanants from appealing and thus obtaining a trial de novo in
the Superior Court, since such an appeal will clearly require increased
expenditures of prosecutorial resources before the defendant's conviction
becomes final, and may even result in a formerly convicted defendant's going
free. And, if the prosecutor has the means readily at hand to discourage such
appeals--by "upping the ante" through a felony indictment whenever a
convicted misdemeanant pursues his statutory appellate remedy--the State can
insure that only the most hardy defendants will brave the hazards of a de novo

Blackledge, 417 U.S. at 27-28, 94 S.Ct. at 2102. The focus, then, in evaluating
the likelihood of vindictiveness is not only on the right of the defendant, but
also on the incentive of the prosecutor to prevent the defendant from asserting
that right.


In this case the prosecutor had very little incentive to discourage Marrapese
from challenging the grand jury proceeding. Unlike the assertion of a right to a
de novo trial, a challenge to the composition of a grand jury poses only a minor
threat to scarce prosecutorial resources. Thus, there is less reason for a
presumption of vindictiveness than in Blackledge or Thigpen. See Goodwin,
457 U.S. at 381, 102 S.Ct. at 2493 ("It is unrealistic to assume that a
prosecutor's probable response to such [routine pretrial] motions is to seek to
penalize and deter.").1 And it is unlikely any retaliatory animus flowed from the
first trial's ending in a mistrial; after all, the mistrial was due to a hung jury, not
to any legal challenge by Marrapese. Compare United States v. Khan, 787 F.2d
28, 32-33 (2d Cir.1986) (hung jury unlikely to inspire prosecutorial wrath) with
United States v. Jamison, 505 F.2d 407 (D.C.Cir.1974) (defendant's motion for
mistrial on ground of ineffective counsel may lead to vindictiveness).


Marrapese's situation presented less likelihood of vindictiveness than the

additional charge filed against the defendant in Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434
U.S. 357, 98 S.Ct. 663, 54 L.Ed.2d 604 (1978), who forced the prosecutor to go
to trial by refusing to plead guilty. Here, the prosecutor had already prepared
for trial and scheduled the retrial; Marrapese's actions were little more than an
annoyance. In Bordenkircher, where the Supreme Court refused to apply a

presumption, the defendant's refusal resulted in a serious drain on prosecutorial

resources. See also United States v. Goodwin, 457 U.S. at 381-83, 102 S.Ct. at
2492-94 (no presumption of vindictiveness when a defendant was indicted on
felony charges after requesting a jury trial for a misdemeanor charge).

Were the presumption nevertheless to apply to this case, the prosecutor's

explanation of the changed circumstances that led to the obstruction of justice
charge would rebut any likelihood of vindictiveness. See ante at 147. The
inconsistency of Lester, 749 F.2d 1288, with the prosecutor's original,
reasonable understanding of Sec. 1503 provides a sufficient, objective change
of circumstances to dispell the concerns that would underlie a presumption of
vindictiveness. See Blackledge, 417 U.S. at 29 n. 7, 94 S.Ct. at 2103 n. 7 ("
[t]his would clearly be a different case if the state had shown that it was
impossible to proceed on the more serious charge at the outset"); Pearce, 395
U.S. at 726, 89 S.Ct. at 2081 (requiring "objective information concerning
identifiable conduct on the part of the defendant occurring after the time of the
original sentencing" to justify an increased sentence after a retrial on the same
charge). Although the rebuttal here does not fall neatly within the language of
either of these pronouncements, we think it an adequate justification for the
prosecutor's action.

II. The Closing Argument


Early in his closing argument, Marrapese's counsel told the jury that he would


stand before you and tell you [that appellant] didn't say on the tape 'tell three
lies.' You heard it, you're going to hear it over and over again. One of the
charges in this case, however, is the charge of conspiracy. * * * Now you can
talk about this three lies conversation all you want * * * but please don't forget
that [appellant's alleged coconspirator,] was not in the room.


The counsel then devoted nearly all of the remainder of his argument to the
conspiracy charge.
The prosecutor in his closing argued:

22 Egbert started out his argument by conceding the first count of the Indictment.
So I think we ought to just put that count with respect to Mr. Marrapese on the shelf
for the time being because he concedes the fact that Mr. Marrapese said, "Tell the
three lies." And really what the defense is getting down to in this case is the
conspiracy count.


Marrapese claims that the district court should have declared a mistrial when he
objected to this "inflammatory and highly prejudicial" statement.


The district court denied the request for a mistrial stating:

25 Mr. Egbert, I'll make two observations. I thought, and I feel certain that the
jury thought Mr. Voorhees' argument as being in the nature of an argument, that
since you had not argued Mr. Marrapese's guilt or innocence as to Count I of the
indictment, that in effect, you were conceding his guilt. That's the way I took it, not
that you had ever said you were conceding his guilt. And, number two, there was no
contemporaneous objection. If there had been any legitimate question in your mind,
and there had been a contemporaneous objection, I might have if I thought there was
anything to cure, and I really don't, but I might have done so.

The district judge subsequently, sua sponte, instructed the jury that "[t]here is
nothing with respect to either count of this indictment ... which is conceded or
should be taken for granted."


There was no mistrial. As the district court noted, the prosecutor's statement
was a fair comment on the defense counsel's closing argument. Cf. United
States v. Glantz, 810 F.2d 316, 323 (1st Cir.1987) (quoting Donnelly v.
DeChristoforo, 416 U.S. 637, 647, 94 S.Ct. 1868, 1873, 40 L.Ed.2d 431 (1974))
(the court "should not lightly infer that a prosecutor intends an ambiguous
remark to have its most damaging meaning or that a jury ... will draw that
meaning from the plethora of less damaging interpretations"). Any unfair
prejudice from that statement was adequately cured by the judge's instruction.
See United States v. Capone, 683 F.2d 582, 586-87 (1st Cir.1982).

III. Sentencing Under the Dangerous Special Offender Statute


Marrapese argues that his sentencing under the dangerous special offender
statute, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3575, violated due process and constitutes cruel and
unusual punishment. He claims that his sentence in the stolen goods case had
already been enhanced because of his obstruction of justice and that for the
court then to enhance his sentence in the obstruction of justice case was
fundamentally unfair.


In the stolen goods case the prosecutor argued to the sentencing judge that
Marrapese deserved more time than the other defendants because he was a
professional criminal who was willing to corrupt the criminal justice system to
get his way, in contrast to the other defendants who went astray only this time
and were remorseful. Thus, in some sense it may be true that Marrapese's

relatively long sentence in the stolen goods case was due in part to his
obstruction of justice, but the connection is a very weak one. In sentencing
Marrapese, the judge stated that he was primarily relying on the presentence
report. Furthermore, Marrapese showed a remarkable lack of remorse in his
statement to the sentencing judge.2 Nevertheless, the judge sentenced him to
only ten years, far less than the twenty-five year maximum he could have
received, and less than the fifteen years the prosecution recommended. That
sentence was proportionate to the crime and clearly within the trial court's
discretion. It was not an enhanced sentence.

In the obstruction of justice case the prosecution sought, for the first time, to
enhance Marrapese's sentence under the dangerous special offender statute, 18
U.S.C. Sec. 3575. Marrapese does not claim that the procedural requirements of
Sec. 3575 were violated. Nor does he claim that the sentence he received is
greater than Sec. 3575 authorizes. Rather, he claims that Sec. 3575 should not
have been applied at all. But, if the procedural requirements of Sec. 3575 are
followed, the district court has the same broad discretion to sentence under that
statute as under the usual sentencing procedure. See United States v. Inendino,
604 F.2d 458 (7th Cir.1979). Having studied the record in this case and having
paid particular attention to the statement of the district court at sentencing, we
are fully convinced that the sentence satisfies constitutional norms, see Rummel
v. Estelle, 445 U.S. 263, 100 S.Ct. 1133, 63 L.Ed.2d 382 (1980), and that the
application of the dangerous special offender statute to Marrapese was


The conviction and sentence are affirmed.

This case is likewise distinguishable from Lovett v. Butterworth, 610 F.2d 1002
(1st Cir.1979), where we found a due process violation in the Commonwealth's
decision to re-indict defendant on a more serious offense after he had been
convicted in district court and had subsequently exercised his right to seek a de
novo trial in superior court. Lovett --like Blackledge and Thigpen--involved the
assertion of a procedural right--an appeal--carrying different and graver
consequences to the prosecution and to defendants generally than are
implicated here

Marrapese's nearly complete statement follows:

Now my part in this scheme was the least; and I'm guilty. And, your Honor, I

would have took a plea if they offered me--they offered me the maximum, your
Honor. I had to come to trial.
Mr. Smith did very well for himself, your Honor, seeing that he was the main
perpetrator of this crime; but I have to take it because I'm Frank L. "Bobo"
Marrapese, reputed to be an organized crime figure. What would they have
done to me if these weren't Lazy Boy chairs? Suppose they were couches? I just
want to be fair. I had enough injustice. I want some justice from you.
The minute you let me out on bail Mr. Gale came into the cell back there and
tried to proposition me to be a Government witness. Your Honor, everything is
falling on me, Frank L. "Bobo" Marrapese, Jr. I'm a little tired of it, your
Honor. Your, Honor, I'm here; I'm guilty. I never would have come to trial if
they made a fair deal of "X" amount of years in Prison. They want me off the
streets; but I had less participation in this crime, the least.
I would just like to say this, your Honor: as far as Mr. Smith, William Smith
and Al Smith go, they're just another reason why contraceptives should be used
in the home. Now, in the words of Pygmy, your Honor, "Sock it to me. I'm
ready for it."